“Bettman has only a marginal interest in the weaker teams. He only wants the NHL to make a bigger profit as a whole.” -- Dominik Hasek

April 11, 2007

The Cult Of Theo

There are a lot of Avalanche fans, mostly the message board-crawling kind, that are obsessively supportive of Jose Theodore. Say anything disparaging about him, and they instantly see red. To criticize him for his poor performance this season is to be unfair, even mean, they say.

But let's be objective here and look at his numbers.

In 33 games played, Theodore won only 13 of them, and lost 15. His goals against average for the season was 3.26, considerably higher than Peter Budaj's admirable 2.68. Theodore also was only able to muster a save percentage of .891, which is really not good at all. Unless you're Olaf Kolzig playing behind a non-existent defense like that of the Capitals, you have no excuse. No shutouts. Six penalty minutes compared to Budaj's zero. All in all an inferior performance.

But, the Theo-lovers argue, he was coming off a season almost completely lost to injury, and he won the Vezina and Hart trophies a few years ago. This is all true, but Montreal wasn't willing to trade Theo for David Aebischer because Theo was still a great goalie. They traded him because he was a financial burden, and he still is today.

I have a distinct feeling that the Avalanche fans so quick to come to Theodore's defense do so purely out of emotional sympathy. In fact, that's the only possible reason, since he hasn't done anything in the crease for the Avalanche that is worth sticking up for. Maybe a good record in shootouts (he only faced six total shots), but not much else.

The Avalanche don't have time for emotional sympathy. They are a business, and the bottom line is that Jose Theodore's performance is not worth six million dollars a year. It wasn't worth two million dollars a year, which is what the Avs will save if they cut his contract now and send him on his way. This is not an emotional argument, it is objective, based on his performance and the salary cap needs of the Avalanche as a franchise.

Jose Theodore is a waste of money, and was unable to prove himself when given numerous chances. There is no reason the Avalanche should continue to carry his bloated contract when they cannot count on him, even as a backup. It is time to admit the trade was a gamble that failed. Such is hockey.


Caleb said...

I couldn't agree more, it simply comes down to the fact that he didn't get it done and Peter Budaj did.

B_Washington said...

I agree as well, his play was awful, but I am waivering on whether the buyout is a better option next year.. there are strategies where it might be better to keep the $6M contract this year.

There's a lot of factors there.

Dear Lord Stanley said...

I reject keeping Jose Theodore on the team simply out of principle. It is true that a buyout will cost the team four million, and it will count against the salary cap, but a sub-par backup goalie does not deserve to be paid six million dollars. Besides, the Avs have three other goalies in their system behind Budaj, they can supply a new backup for a mere fraction of the cost of Theodore.

B_Washington said...

I don't agree with keeping him on principle. It boild down more to eating the contract in next years salary cap, instead of spreading it out over 2 years. The year after next is expected to have a steller free agent class and we may want that $2M ...

There's other factors too, which I will at some point mention in my blog.

Tapeleg said...

If you buy out Theo, you get:

- About $4 million back in cap space.

- A silly situation out of the dressing room.

- No more Paris Hilton jokes.

Any one of those would be enough for me to think about it, 2 seal the deal.

You only get a limited amount of time to buy out a contract. It's fairly obvious that no one will be trading for him, so it boils down to if you want to make a six million dollar mistake again, or maybe a 3-4 million potential mistake ($2 million on a new backup/number 1A goalie plus the buyout hit) that you get some control of. I'll take option number two.

B_Washington said...

Yes you get $4M back this year, but also costs $2M next year the real question is do you want to take the hit this year, when you have cap space, or next year, when you may need that cap space to sign one of your young player.

The only thing that scares me more than seeing Theo in uniform for another season is his contract eating up room and costing us a player like Wolski or Leopold.

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